Osh—As the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World 2019

Cultural and artistic events that took place in Osh in April 2019 ⓒ National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO

Osh, Kyrgyzstan, was declared the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World in 2019. The decision was made by the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture of the TURKSOY countries at the 36th meeting on 18 December 2018 in Kastamonu, Turkey. Kyrgyzstan’s city declared as the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World for the first time. Besides, Turkestan, the status was carried by Kastamonu (Turkey), Mary (Turkmenistan), Sheki (Azerbaijan), and Kazan (Tatarstan).

Osh is the oldest city in the Kyrgyzstan with a history of more than 3,000 years. Osh is also famous for Sulaiman Too, a large religious mountain that was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009 because of its historical, cultural, and spiritual significance. Moreover, Osh was one of the largest cities in Fergana Valley during mediaeval times and was at the crossroads of important routes along the Central Asian Silk Road.

Accordingly, from 19 to 21 April, festive events took place in Osh. TURKSOY declared Osh the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World of 2019. The opening ceremony took place in the presence of the President Sooronbay Jeenbekov of the Kyrgyz Republic. Honored guests from Turkic countries and representatives of TURKSOY, UNESCO, and ISESCO enjoyed various cultural and artistic events, ethnic music, fashion, folk rites, and traditional cuisine, such as sumolok. Events aimed at strengthening social and economic relations and developing tourism of Osh as the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World. In particular, Sulaiman Too at the city center will serve as a potential tourism site of the Osh Region.

Within the framework of the events dedicated to announcing Osh as the cultural capital of the Turkic World, on 21 April, the seventh meeting of the UNESCO National Commissions and Committees of TURKSOY member countries was held. During the meeting, decisions were made to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the Turkic World, and issues of international and regional cooperation were discussed. Moreover, joint multinational cultural heritage of the Turkic World was discussed as inscriptions to the UNESCO lists.

7th Meeting of UNESCO National Commissions and Committees of TURKSOY member countries ⓒ National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO

At the meeting, President Mr. M. Öcal Oğuz of the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO passed chairmanship over to the Secretary-General of the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO, Ms. S. Soltongeldieva.

Kyrgyz citizens believe that this status will contribute to developing Osh and boost tourism. Osh has a rich culture and traditions, and the TURKSOY decision to name Osh as the Culture Capital of the Turkic World is significant to preserve and transmit the cultural heritage of the Turkic World.